Sources: Texans ignored search firm in GM hire

  • ESPN NFL Insider
  • Joined ESPN in 2009
  • Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books

Had Houston stayed the course and followed the recommendation of the search firm Korn Ferry, the Texans likely would have hired Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan as their next general manager, league sources told ESPN.

Khan and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick were the two finalists before Texans owner Cal McNair changed his mind, ignored the recommendation of the search firm he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do weeks of work and hired former New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, sources said.

Multiple people in the Texans organization, including but not limited to quarterback Deshaun Watson, were upset with how Houston’s search took a sudden and unexpected turn, hiring a man that Korn Ferry did not include on its list of candidates.

Watson is said to be furious at the Texans’ direction, and others are as well, with some saying that there will be employees who wind up leaving the organization during the offseason.

Watson is on vacation, and McNair said he expects to speak with the quarterback once he returns. But how that will go, if it happens, remains uncertain. Some around the league believe that Watson could opt to withhold his services this season. Watson has not commented on that option, but others insist it will be in play.

One person who knows Watson said this week that, after the Texans traded Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last offseason, the quarterback’s anger level was “a 2. … This time, it’s a 10.”

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